Newsletter #486 – Rethinking Career Direction

What do long term employees do when their careers collapse because their companies fold? What about business people, pastors or professionals who are shunted into retirement whether or not they want to go? Similar questions face new graduates who can’t find work in the careers for which they spent years and a fortune getting prepared. “What am I supposed to do [now]?”  is an article in  Relevant magazine (July/August 2012) focusing on looking into the future in times of career re-evaluation. The May/June 2012 issue discusses ways to find and live out one’s calling. At times most of us face the challenges of selecting a career path, finding a job, adapting to vocational disappointments or rethinking one’s calling. Here are observations adapted from the Relevant articles.

  • The workplace is changing. No longer can one graduate, get a job, stay there for life, then retire. More often we  change jobs and careers often. Many younger people don’t care about company loyalty or climbing corporate latters. One survey found 97% of Generation Y workers prefer work that lets them impact the world and find fulfillment; 72% of college students want to be entrepreneurs. Younger workers value freedom, independence and relationships more than recognition, titles and promotions.
  • The challenge for career seekers is to answer questions like What was I born to do? How do I know? What do I love doing? What am I compelled to do? What do I do well? What kinds of people do I like to be with? Who do I admire and why? What in my past has been successful and apparently God-blessed? How would I like to be remembered?  These are in the question-arsenal of most career coaches and counselors.
  • Ponder where God is at work in the world and consider where you might fit.
  • Find out what your friends think you are cut out to do.
  • Realize that finding and fulfilling your calling may be difficult in changing and tough economic times. Keep your eyes open for change but keep doing  your present work well and in ways that build people and honor God (Col. 3:23).
  • Learn from others who have struggled with their careers and calling, especially in times of change. If you are such a person please comment so others can benefit from your experiences.
  1. “Keep doing your present work well and in ways that build people and honor God.”

    The changes in the work place you describe find a parallel in the church for those who have discovered New Testament-style freedom in their worship and relational, spiritual communities.

    Acts 2:42-47 and 1 Corinthians 14:24-26 are not very hard to experience where restrictive, denominational authority structures and traditional, ecclesial offices can be avoided.

    I look forwards eagerly to every on Gary’s People Builders Blog postings!

    • Thanks Galen. I appreciate the ways in which you remind me of the scriptures and how a lot of this stuff applies to the church. I agree with your observation about “restrictive, denominational authority structures and traditional ecclesiastical offices” although thankfully my wife and I have been able to avoid that.

  2. Great topic and one I grapple with as a Christian Career Coach! Dr. Terry Walling says, “Transitions are the process that God uses to move us from where we are to where HE wants us to be!” One key is to get godly input to assist you in hearing His direction in the midst of the noise created by change. Discovering gifting, clarifying call and taking steps of faith to find and enter that “place” God has prepared should be the top priority of all of us, not just those in transition. Becoming the person that He created you to be is a transforming process. Sometimes painful and slow, but so worth the effort to reach! Godspeed to all in that land in between!

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